The combinations in this section include all of the striking sequences where one hand is closed and the other is open.
Shuto Uchi – Gyaku Tsuki
This combination is again very similar to the Tettsui Uchi – Gyaku Tsuki combination except that a horizontal Shuto Uchi is used as the first strike. The same circular benefits, return speed, and guard position comments are relevant. The Shuto Uchi normally makes contact with the palm facing down.
Soto Shuto Uchi – Gyaku Tsuki
In this combination, the Front Hand delivers a Soto Shuto Uchi perhaps to the opponent’s shoulder or neck. As this hand is returned to a guard position the body rotates into a Zenkutsu Dachi to deliver a Gyaku Tsuki strike. This has some of the same Front Hand Disproportionality benefits afforded by the Kizami Tsuki – Gyaku Tsuki striking combination, but the benefits here are not as pronounced. The benefits differ depending on which side of your opponent you are striking. You will find better return capability if you strike to one of your opponent’s shoulders than the other. Experiment to see which shoulder provides the best and least Disproportionality effect. In this striking combination, the palm of the first strike normally faces upward upon contact.
Ura Tsuki – Shotei Uchi
One of the benefits of an Ura Tsuki delivered at close range to the chin is that it tends to force the head back, tilting the face so it is oriented upward. This striking combination takes advantage of this by striking first with an Ura Tsuki up under the chin and then allowing the strike to extend further forward so it is positioned above the face. This same hand then immediately opens, is rotated, and drives a Shotei Uchi down into the upturned face. Either the Front or the Back Hand can be used. You may notice that if the Front Hand is used it naturally returns to an effective guard position.
Ken Tsuki – Kakuto Uchi
Here is another Keiretsu combination strike involving a single arm. The Ken Tsuki is typically used to strike at the Chudan level – often to the chest, solar plexus, or abdomen. The strike is not returned, but instead, your fist is opened to form a Kakuto Uchi which is then instantly driven up and under the opponent’s chin.
In some cases, a strike to the abdomen or solar plexus may cause the opponent to lean forward in reaction. In such situations, the Kakuto Uchi may either be constrained by the forward lean or be directed more toward the face instead of the chin. The further the opponent leans forward the harder it will be to make the second strike work effectively (because the strike may become trapped against the attacker’s chest wall or the head interrupts your arm movement) without moving. For this reason, these two strikes are usually delivered in very rapid succession so that the opponent does not have time to substantially change their current position.
There are other creative uses for this combination including striking the opponent and then blocking their mirror side strike, or striking their approaching shoulder to interrupt an incoming strike and then striking the opposite shoulder to prevent it from initiating a strike. The two strikes do not always need to be focused on the same target and could be delivered at different levels or even different orientations.
Uraken Tsuki – Tiger Claw
This is something of a special-use combination and is most commonly used when an opponent has been forced to bend forward and you are positioned to their side near their head. Strike to the side of the face with an Uraken Tsuki using the Front Hand and immediately shuffle closer as you open the same hand, lower it slightly and invert it so the palm is facing upward. Now strike upward with this same hand to deliver a Tiger Claw up and into the eyes of the opponent. It helps if the fingers and wrist are kept somewhat relaxed and not completely rigid when delivering the tiger claw strike. It also helps if your opposite hand intercepts and stops the rise of the Tiger Claw strike just above the wrist. When done correctly the relaxed wrist on the Tiger Claw hand allows the Tiger Claw to flick up into the opponent’s eyes.
Like an augmented block, an augmented strike places your palm or the fist of the opposite arm on the forearm of the hand delivering a strike. If the augmentation employs a closed fist, then the knuckles of the closed fist press into the forearm of the striking arm. The augmentation provides some increase in power at the cost of having your guard out of position. It also helps ensure your strike stays within your center triangle. The strike might best be used in situations where you are behind or above your opponent and there is little chance they may be striking you at the same time.
You may occasionally see or hear us refer to this strike as Morote Tsuki or some similar name. This is a convenient shorthand way of indicating the strike is using two hands. In truth, such references are technically inaccurate, though they do serve to convey the use of two hands while striking. The difference is that a true Morote Tsuki uses two hands as strikes, where an augmented strike uses two hands while striking, but only one of the hands is intended to make contact with the target.
The concept of an augmented strike can be applied to many Tsuki hand strikes. A Shotei Tsuki or Ura Tsuki can easily be used in an augmented fashion. Augmentation is not as easily applied to strikes that employ a circular delivery path, such as Shuto Uchi.